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February 09, 2007

Surveys- Should we test Young Learenrs?

Hello Readers,

If you've ever taught young learners ESL, you may have come across this week's question already: should young learners be tested on their ability to speak English?

There are arguments both for and against testing young learners' ability to speak English.

Reasons for testing might include:
* some parents expect a score (based on a test)
* the school might require a score
* teachers can use the results to alter their syllabus and/or place students
* the students might be motivated by an appropriate test at their level
* tests can be part of the learning process

Reasons for not testing...

... might include:
* young learners often acquire a second language naturally and somewhat quickly anyway- why test when they just need some time?
* testing can have "negative back wash" or negative effects (eg. students who do poorly are then categorized as "bad students" or acquire a fear of testing/learning which can negatively affect them for years )
* In multilingual classrooms, ESL students are often at different levels with different backgrounds- so is it possible to grade the students fairly?
* When it comes to language, what you teach is not necessarily what is learned; some say that students have to acquire language at their own pace when they are ready... so why test?
* testing can lead teachers to teach to the test instead of teaching what they feel is important for the students

So, what do you think? Should we test young learners or not?

To place your vote, go to the following link: http://www.esl-jobs-forum.com/viewtopic.php?t=1701

Don't forget that you'll have to either register or log in before you can take part in the poll. (But don't worry, it's free!)

Question: Should we test Young Learners?

1) Yes

2) No

Anything missing from the above choices? Feel free to share additional ideas by commenting below!

If you have further comments about how you test and give marks to young learners as well, feel free to comment below. It'd be interesting to hear from you!

To read an article about the Assessment of Young Learners by Kassim Shaaban, go to the following link: http://exchanges.state.gov/forum/vols/vol39/no4/p16.htm

Carol Rueckert
Writer, ESL Lesson Plan
E-mail: crueckert@eslemployment.com
Blog: www.esl-lesson-plan.com

"I hear, and I forget. I see, and I remember. I do, and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

*Looking for other interesting surveys (and their resultes) about the ESL industry? Click HERE!

About the author of this entry:
Carol, a native English-speaker who hails from the small town of St. Joseph in Minnesota, USA, and lived and worked in China for more than 7 years. During that time, she worked with students that range in age from three to more than sixty years old. She worked in universities, private language schools, grade schools, international schools, as well as private tutoring. Besides teaching, she also worked as a head teacher, an education manager, and a material development manager. In addition to working on this newsletter, she currently writes a monthly column for Time Out Beijing. Carol is also currently working on her MA in TESOL at the Oxford Brookes University in England. Look for her posts on the ESL-Jobs-Forum discussion boards!

Posted by crueckert at February 9, 2007 05:22 AM

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